BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Silverstone, Great Britain, 07/10/2015, British Superbike Championship
The BMW riders in the British Superbike Championship (BSB) look back on a successful weekend in Silverstone: Peter Hickman and Michael Laverty set new lap records on their BMW S 1000 RRs and celebrated on the podium after superb races. The Superstock race was won by a BMW rider once again: Hudson Kennaugh won the penultimate race of the season, fellow BMW rider Luke Quigley finished third.
The penultimate race event of the 2015 BSB season was held in Silverstone. Friday already hinted at just how high calibre and hotly contested the weekend would turn out to be: In the Superbike class (BSB SBK) practice sessions, no fewer than seven riders broke the existing track record for BSB Superbikes. The quickest of these was Laverty, who with a time of 2:05.370 minutes on his Tyco BMW S 1000 RR got the fastest time of the day.
The times continued to drop in the practice session and qualifying on Saturday. The best-placed BMW rider on the starting grid for the first race was Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves BMW) in seventh. Laverty was right beside him in eighth.
Hickman really put his foot down right from the start, and on the second lap set a new lap record for the fastest lap of the race at that time. In fifth place he let the gap between him and the top four increase slightly – before going on a sensational final spurt. First, Hickman closed the gap in front of him. On the 12th of 14 laps, he overtook John Hopkins to move into fourth place, and a lap later, he pulled off a strong manoeuvre to overtake James Ellison for third place. Hickman then brought home this third place on the podium unchallenged.
“We had a new engine for Assen and it has taken us a couple of meetings to get to where we want to be with the characteristics being a bit different. This weekend we have been making big improvements,” said Hickman. “In the mid-race the pace was really high and they started to pull away a bit, so I let them go and thought I would see if they came back to me towards the end. I conserved my tyres and in the last few laps I managed to close back in on them and get ahead of Hopper and Ellison. I was happy with that.” The only moment of terror for Hickman came in the cool-down lap: While he was celebrating his spot on the podium with wheelies, his BMW S 1000 RR suddenly caught fire. However, the track marshals rushed onto the track and were able to extinguish the blaze quickly.
Laverty finished the race in sixth place, his Tyco BMW team-mate Tommy Bridewell was ninth. Lee Jackson, Richard Cooper (both Buildbase BMW Motorrad) and Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing BMW) also picked up points for finishing in 11th, 12th and 13th.
In the second race it was Laverty who rode onto the podium with a sensational final spurt. Finishing second, he got his best result of the season so far. Laverty was the only rider to opt for the harder rear tyre. This paid off in race two, after his team tweaked the set-up of his RR slightly. The Tyco BMW rider was part of a five-way battle at the top and started his sprint through the field in the closing phase. First, he won a thrilling duel with Shane Byrne for third place. On the penultimate lap, he made use of the full power of his RR on the straights, which saw him overtake Dan Linfoot to move into second place. Laverty defended this position to the finish line.
“I was the only one who chose the hard rear tyre, but we had that strategy right from Friday,” explained Laverty. “We maybe don’t set the fastest lap times, but it allowed us to be strong at the end of the race. The boys made some clever changes for race two and, even with the hard tyre, I hung in there and fought. It’s nice to get second place. We’ve had a strong weekend and got to put the Tyco BMW on the podium.”
In this race, no fewer than five BMW riders finished in the top nine spots. Cooper was sixth, closely followed by Bridewell in seventh. Hickman and Jackson were right behind in positions eight and nine.
Going into the season finale on 17th and 18th October in Brands Hatch, where three races will be held, the two “Title Fighters” Laverty and Bridewell are in fourth and sixth. Laverty is fourth with 553 points, Bridewell is sixth with 531 points. Josh Brookes is in the lead (653 points). The best-placed rider outside of the “Title Showdown” is Cooper.
In the Superstock class (BSB STK) race, Hudson Kennaugh (Trik-Moto BMW) celebrated his third win of the season. After a dramatic final lap, the South African won with an advantage of 0.060 seconds over Kawasaki rider Josh Elliot. Luke Quigley rounded off the podium: he finished third on his BMW S 1000 RR in action for Formwise Washrooms / Bathams. Adam Jenkinson (Northern Escalator Installations) finished fourth on his RR.
Tyco BMW rider Alastair Seeley made up ground magnificently, but without reward. He rode the fastest lap time and worked his way to the front of the field from tenth place. Seeley started the final lap in the lead, but was pushed aside in the battle for the win and dropped back into sixth. In the championship standings, Seeley, who has won four races so far this season, is second overall. However, he trails Elliot by 27 points. This means that the title has been decided ahead of the final race in Brands Hatch.